The ones you love to hate

Welcome back to another blog hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.

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What character have you created that you despise/hate the most?

I don’t think that description applies to any of the people who populate my work. Hate is such a strong word for someone that brings balance to a narrative, someone who I saw in my mind and brought to life. Imagine a story where everyone was good, where there was nothing bad at all. What would be the point?

I’ve always thought that the best villain is someone you can identify with, someone you can almost imagine yourself being, in different circumstances. It’s this that makes you love to hate someone, when you get where they’re coming from.

I’ve always been more interested in motivation, WHY a person does what they do. My aim in writing (or at least in transcribing what I see happening in my head) is to make the reader see the logic in the story, and that includes producing empathy. So that the reader can not only see the action but can understand the emotion that produces it, either from personal experience or from what they know of human nature. They don’t have to agree with it but it must resonate. That includes the good and the bad.

And that is where the hate comes in, the same as love and every emotion does. It’s the readers, not mine.

That being said, I have met some unsavoury characters in the worlds in my head.

Like the Chenko brothers in my Dave Travise series. They are the leaders of an interplanetary crime syndicate. One of them has designs on Myra, Dave’s girlfriend. As does a low life criminal, who is talked into betraying Dave by one of the Chenko’s with the promise of the thing he craves.

Neither of them are very nice people but I can understand their motivation. Of the two my least favourite is the betrayer, at least the Chenko’s are honest about their intentions.

Then there’s Kalindra Dallin, the villain in The Hitman and the Thief. She is the worst kind of dictator. She rules her planet, Fallop, like some sort of one-party state. Her cult of personality means that you only ever see pictures of her, but in all of them, she is a different person. Because of that, she is almost mythical, ordinary people have no way of knowing who the real Kalindra is.

As such, she is impossible for the common people to hate, as they don’t know who she really is. You can fear her, and fear talking about her, after all, you could be standing next to her without knowing it. A bit like Big Brother in 1984, she is a concept rather than a personality. Which makes the Hitman’s job of assassinating her all that much harder. He hates her for the trouble she has put him too and the question is, does it colour his judgement?

Andorra Pett hates her ex, Trevor. It was he who let her down badly and prompted her to leave Earth in search of a new start. Even though she still holds a bit of a thing for him, when they are reunited, the old memories he stirs up make her both love and hate him at the same time. Which makes for an interesting dynamic in the adventures that he drags her into.

There are plenty of people to get emotional about in my Steampunk adventures with Horis Strongman. He’s the fall guy, set up to fail by the elite, in order to maintain the status quo. His principal enemy is Terrance, his superior at the Ministry of Coal, who is himself trying to rise above his station by befriending a government man called Cavendish.

When Horis does not do what is expected of him, he has to be disposed of.

Seen from their point of view, those who consider themselves his betters are protecting themselves, in the way that ruling elites do in our own world. From Horis’s perspective, he is just trying to survive and better his life in a world run by privilege.

If you, as a reader, decide to love or hate any of my characters, it means that I’m doing my job.

Until next time.

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7 Responses

  1. sally cronin

    Interesting Richard.. there are a number of characters I have created that I don’t like much as people… most are based on those I have met but others such as Kallindra who assume a position in any organisation and rule by fear and bullying. Stories do need the elements of light and dark and not sure what it says about me that I quite enjoy creating the dark!

    • Richard Dee

      It’s interesting to see someone else’s take on a character when they’re based on a real person. Do others see them as you do?

  2. Daryl Devore

    so true, if we do our job right – our readers will love or hate our characters.

    • Richard Dee

      It’s very easy to make people hate a character, the subtle approach is to do it while they ponder just how much like them they could have been; if things had been different.

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